For Immediate Release
July 19, 2011
Gautam Dutta (415) 236-2048, Dutta@BusinessandElectionLaw.com
Tea Party Candidate Seeks to Join Top Two Primary Lawsuit
Prominent GOP Candidate Opposes Tea Party Candidate’s Effort; Court Hearing Set for Aug. 22
Tea Party candidate Julius Galacki has asked a federal court for permission to join a lawsuit against Proposition 14′s Top Two Primary. Unless that lawsuit succeeds, Tea Party and all other minor-party candidates will be forced to falsely state on the ballot that they have “No Party Preference”.
Proposition 14′s Top Two Primary was the brainchild of former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, who is running for Congress as a Republican. On Friday, Maldonado and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen asked the court to ban Mr. Galacki from joining the lawsuit (Chamness v. Bowen).
To call attention to two illegal parts of Proposition 14′s Top Two Primary, Mr. Galacki has changed his party registration from the Democratic Party to the Tea Party — and intends to run for Congress next year as a Tea Party candidate. Mr. Galacki, a Los Angeles resident and playwright, lives and votes in Congressional District 36.
“I’m making a point,” Mr. Galacki said, “that it’s a lie to say I have ‘No Party Preference’. Of course, I have a preference!
“This law creates an inferior, second-class status for anyone from a small party, and that’s truly un-American, unconstitutional and just plain wrong,” Mr. Galacki said. “It’s not just the Democrats and Republicans who have a right to label themselves as they see fit, but any American who qualifies to run for political office,” he added.
Chamness v. Bowen challenges the constitutionality of two core parts of the Top Two Primary: (1) its Party Preference Ban, which forces minor-party candidates to falsely state on the ballot that they have “No Party Preference”, and (2) its Vote Counting Ban, which bans write-in candidates from running and bans lawfully cast write-in votes from being counted in every general election.
Earlier, Mr. Galacki sought to run as a write-in candidate in the July 12, 2011 special general election for Congressional District 36. Even though state law allows write-in candidates to run in “any” election, Mr. Galacki was not allowed to run for Congressional office.
Subsequently, Mr. Galacki cast a write-in vote for himself in the July 12, 2011 Congressional election. On July 12, 2011, his write-in vote was not counted.
“On top of censoring candidates, the Top Two Primary illegally disenfranchises voters and disqualifies candidates from running for office. Simply put, the Top Two Primary must be put on hold until the Legislature has fixed its troubling flaws,” said Gautam Dutta, Mr. Galacki’s attorney.
On May 6, 2011, Plaintiffs Michael Chamness, Daniel Frederick, and Rich Wilson filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which asked the trial court to declare that Proposition 14′s implementing law (Senate Bill 6) is unconstitutional. On May 30, 2011, Plaintiffs filed their Reply Brief.
After cancelling oral argument earlier this summer, Judge Otis D. Wright II announced last week that he would reschedule oral argument for Aug. 22, 2011, 2:30 pm, in Courtroom 11, U.S. District Court, 312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Judge Wright also indicated that he was inclined to rule against Plaintiffs. If necessary, Plaintiffs will take this important case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.